The Rapidian

Let Their Voice Be Heard Honoring Jeanne Englehart

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

5:30 pm

Goei Center

818 Butterworth Street
Grand Rapids MI 49504

The Girls Choral Academy: Giving Girls a Voice

It’s time for vocal warm-up. “Doh-Re-Mi-Fa-So-La-Tee-Doh” echoes down the hallways, as girls from different schools, different economic backgrounds, different races and different religions gather for a single reason: To sing.

The Girls Choral Academy works to “Give Girls a Voice” through their unique programs of music for girls who love to sing and wish to grow both artistically as singers, and personally as leaders and members of a choir.  

Yes, it’s “girls only,” which provides a safe environment where girls build leadership skills and self-confidence through music education.

From 20 to 2,000

Founded by Dr. Monique Salinas-Stauffer, the Girls Choral Academy began in 1997 as the West Michigan Academy of Music for Girls, with just 20 girls performing in a single choir. As a highly-accomplished female musician and a Latina by background, Monique knew first-hand about the challenges facing young girls. She recognized that a musical excellence offers an opportunity for girls to experience self-satisfaction and to build their self-image. 

Today, the 200 singers that participate in the Girls Choral Academy choirs are students of public, private, charter, parochial schools, and home-schooling. GCA’s nine choirs include six tuition-based choirs and three after-school program choirs grouped by age level and perform three major concerts each school year. Since its founding, more than 2,000 area girls have participated in the GCA.

The three after-school choirs are located in schools in southwest urban neighborhoods of Grand Rapids near Grandville Avenue. These choirs operate in cooperation with the Grand Rapids Public School System, including Southwest Community Campus School, Buchanan Elementary, and Chavez Elementary.

Committed to the ideal of equal opportunity in a positive environment, Girls Choral Academy strives to recruit and train young women from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Musical repertoire reflects that commitment, including works of the masters from many traditions and ethnic music of assorted cultures.

Girls enrolled in Girls Choral Academy learn proper techniques of vocal production, essentials of music theory and a wide variety of repertoire.  Small group work and private tutoring assist students in attaining and maintaining the highest standards.

More than Music

Research indicates that students who study music develop intellectual and social skills to a greater degree than those who do not. Unfortunately, research also shows that the average elementary school girl is already on her way to low self-esteem. 

  • Seven in 10 girls believe they that are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school.  
  • Eighty-one percent of 10-year-old girls are afraid of being fat.
  • Approximately 20 percent of teens will experience depression before they reach adulthood.

While girls gather to sing positive, life-affirming songs, leadership skills are nurtured and risks are encouraged in a safe and success-oriented environment.  By challenging each girl to discover and attain her full potential, Girls Choral Academy promotes the self-confidence necessary for girls to grow into a successful adulthood.

Facing a Funding Crisis

Girls Choral Academy is proud of its philosophy that it has never turned away a singer because she could not afford tuition. More than half the girls in the choirs receive some sort of financial aid. However, the economic conditions of the past few years have wreaked havoc on the scholarship fund. Lori Tennenhouse, the current Executive Director of the Girls Choral Academy notes, “We are actively and continuously seeking sponsors for individual girls, concerts and other performance events, including our spring luncheon, and our November benefit, at which we honor a female leader of the community, and performances by the girls.”

Honoring Jeanne Englehart

This year, the Girls Choral Academy will bestow the 2014 Giving Girls a Voice Award to Jeanne Englehart. Jeanne has been a transformative leader in the lives of many women; courageously mentoring them to overcome their limitations, meet new challenges, and change their lives. 

It plans to be a lively, fun and informative evening that will honor a leader. But more than that: It will raise the funds needed to continue to, “Give Girls a Voice.”

The Girls Choral Academy Benefit, “Let Their Voice Be Heard” honoring Jeanne Englehart.

Tuesday, November 11, 5:30–8:00pm

The Goei Center, Grand Rapids, MI

Tickets: $75.00

To purchase advance tickets or to become a sponsor, contact Julie Morrow at [email protected]

Event Type: Fundraiser 

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